After months of speculation and swirling rumors, Jim McElwain has hired Kerry Dixon as his wide receivers coach. The move fills the last open slot in the Gators’ coaching staff.
Before coming to UF, Dixon worked at Florida International, Florida Atlantic and Montana State as the running backs coach. The 2013 FAU running game he oversaw set a school record with 2,215 yards, and finished fifth in Conference USA that year. He also played a big role in Montana State reaching back to back FCS quarterfinals appearances, as his two running backs, Tray Robinson and Cody Kirk, rushed for almost 2,000 combined yards.
Prior to his days at Montana State, he worked at Stillman College as the offensive coordinator in 2009. In the two years before that, he worked as the QB coach at Texas Southern and Morgan State, respectively.
But this is by far the highest profile job Dixon has ever had, and it’s his first ever job as a wide receivers coach. However, maybe that’s part of why McElwain hired him- to give the Gators’ receiving corps some stability at the WR coach position. Dixon is a young, up and coming coach, and McElwain has to be thinking that he’ll stick around for more than a year or two.
Think about all the WR coaches UF has had since Billy Gonzalez left for LSU several years ago: Zach Azzani, Aubrey Hill, Joker Phillips, Bush Hamdan and Chris Leak all getting to call themselves the Gators’ WR coach since 2010 at the very least has to be a bit overwhelming for these guys. The guy who runs your position meetings and who you listen to and trust to help your game continues to change? That would throw me off, anyway.
In any case, Dixon is going to be tasked with wringing some production out of a WR corps that hasn’t really produced much at all over the last few years. Other than Demarcus Robinson, Florida doesn’t have any proven deep threats, and for an offense that’s been ranked outside the top 100 in FBS over the past few years, developing some deep threats would be a good way to change that.